It would be neat to hear from the labels how the Hot Topic exclusive releases work out for them. Among others, Equal Vision has done it, Rise is currently doing it, and now Fearless.
And this should be an exciting listen.
From my dealings with Hot Topic regarding CD's and stuff is that they go through a distributor (Revolution Records) and then they get sold to Hot Topic. It used to be that they were sold to directly Hot Topic, but that changed around 2 months ago. So the labels get less money/cd (has to go through two markups to reach the final price now instead of just one), but they can probably sell more.
That is just from my experience though (selling to Hot Topic w/o a label). Our quantity sold went up while our price per cd went down.